The Columbia Whirlibird glove is a solid choice for casual resort skiers. They are moderately warm, comfortable, and could easily be worn every day at the resort.
Warmth: The Columbia Whirlibird glove has 150g of Microtemp insulation on the back of the hand and 80g everywhere else. Although this is only a moderate amount of insulation and typically not great in extrmeme cold, the Columbia Whirlibird glove is much warmer than you’d expect. This is partially because the Whirlibird also has a Omni-Heat thermal reflective liner that seems to do a good job trapping heat in the glove. These still wouldn’t be my choice for Arctic expeditions, but for moderately cold days on the mountain, the Columbia Whirlibird glove provides solid warmth.
Waterproofing: The Columbia Whirlibird glove has a durable water repellent and Omni-Tech insert. In my past experience with Omni-Tech it holds up well in a light snow, but tends to wet out when things get really wet. I think for most moderate days on the mountain, the Columbia Whirlibird glove would be fine, but if you ski often in wet conditions, you’d be much better off with a Gore-Tex glove.
Breathability: The Columbia Whirlibird glove isn’t very breathable. It’s not terrible, but the Omni-Heat reflectors and moderate insulation seem to trap heat really well, and does not allow moisture to escape. These gloves would probably be fine for most casual days on the mountain, but if you do a lot of hike-to terrain, or enjoy skiing the backcountry a lot, then you’ll probably want to look for a more breathable, or light-weight glove.
Fit: The Columbia Whirlibird glove feels slightly small, but not so much that we’d have to size up. They just feel snug.
Durability: I’ve used Columbia gloves as my everyday glove in the past, and durability is the only thing I’ve ever had a complaint about. They hold up relatively well to light abuse, but for those of you that are really hard on gloves, the Columbia Whirlibird glove may not be the best option. Also if you plan on spending a lot of time off piste where you may encounter rocks, and trees, you’ll probably end up putting holes in the palms before anything else wears out. Still for most casual resort skiers the Columbia Whirlibird glove should be durable enough for a few light seasons.
Other Features: The Columbia Whirlibird glove has a nice long gauntlet style cuff that is cinched down with a solid webbing strap. The only down side is that it’s not super easy to adjust on the fly, and if you’re like me and take your gloves off a lot, you’ll get annoyed with having to readjust every time you do. I’d also like to see a wrist leash on the glove, but this isn’t a huge deal. The PU grip palm is good for grabbing things, but as stated above, doesn’t always hold up to long term abuse.
Overall, the Columbia Whirlibird glove is a solid glove for the casual resort skier. It offers plenty of warmth and average waterproof protection. It’s a comfortable glove, and is strong enough to hold up to light abuse over time. They aren’t super technical or bomber, but a solid glove for the 10-15 times a year skier.
Size Worn: M
What I look for in a glove: My hands run cold, so I like a warm glove or mitten. Also as a person who spends a lot of time in contact with the snow, I like gloves that are very waterproof and don’t soak through. Having liners is a nice benefit because they add warmth, and are easier to dry out a glove if it does get wet.